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January 2020Volume 20, No. 1
Fostering Arts-Rich Schools


Advocates have long fought for equity in arts learning, making the case for arts as core and not “special” curriculum. These cries were heard when the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) gave states the opportunity to expand student access to quality instruction in the visual and performing arts. This issue of the State Education Standard gives state policymakers good reasons to pay attention to the depth and breadth of instruction their schools offer in music, drama, theater, dance, and media arts—all key components of students’ well-rounded education.


Fostering Arts-Rich Schools

Cover Image for January 2020 Standard


Children play xylophones. Image credit: Blanca Velazquez-Martin

The Art of Early Childhood Education

By Eleanor D. Brown

Arts integration shows promise for school readiness, emotion regulation, and stress reduction in the youngest, most vulnerable students.





Image credit: University of Chicago Consortium on School Research

How Arts Education Supports Social-Emotional Development: A Theory of Action

By Camille Farrington and Steve Shewfelt

Instructional practices rooted in action and reflection could transform how all disciplines build students' competencies.





Painted Desert Sunset. Image credit: iStock

Advancing Arts Education in Arizona

By Catherine "Rusty" Foley

Arizona leverages partnerships, ESSA funding, and a diploma seal to bolster equitable access to arts learning.





Hands of young potter, creating earthen jar on the circle. Image credit: iStock

Arts in Turnaround Strategies

By Valerie Norville

A+ Schools and Turnaround Arts schools commit to a model of school improvement.






Using Arts Data to Match Community Organizations to School Needs

By Valerie Norville

Six communities follow Chicago's lead in developing arts education census data and maps.





Choir behind microphones. Image credit: iStock

Using ESSA to Leverage Arts Education Policy

By Lynn Tuttle

Several states are using ESSA to increase access and quality in arts instruction.





Students making mosaic. Image credit: iStock

The ESSA Arts Indicator in Illinois: A Study in the Art of Policymaking

By Jonathan VanderBrug

Arts educators bring creativity and process expertise to their work on statewide accountability.





Boy builds gumdrop and toothpick structure. Image credit: iStock

The Role of Arts Integration and Education in Improving Student Outcomes

By Andrea Boyle, Jim Lindsay, Meredith Ludwig and Yinmei Wan

If research is to inform state policy, important gaps in research should be filled.






Arts as a Core Academic Subject. Image: ECS

Expanding Access to High-Quality Arts Instruction

By Mary Dell'Erba

Advancing research and innovative policies can move states toward universal access to a quality arts education.







Featured Items

Little girl crossing the field in fog. Image credit: iStock i

Gauging School Climate

As school buildings reopen after weeks of pandemic-induced closures, school climate will matter more than ever. State policymakers and education leaders can plan now to create safe, supportive learning environments ready for the return of students and teachers to classrooms. The articles in The Standard provide a roadmap.
Chairs on desks in empty classroom. Image Credit: iStock i

Preparing Facilities for Students’ Return in the Wake of COVID-19

To reopen schools, they need to be clean and safe for students, educators, and staff. What state leaders need to consider as they issue guidance for schools.
Masked mother and daughter reviewing book.Image Credit: iStock i

Continued Learning during COVID-19

States are issuing guidance with an eye toward equity to help schools implement continuous learning for all students and adapt to a variety of needs and circumstances amidst widespread school closures from COVID-19.

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